Mina Monier Mina Monier

To Read or not to Read: The Long Ending in GA1230 and the Newly Discovered GA 2937


Dr. Mina Monier, DH+, SIB

Should the Long Ending be included and commented on? Should a potential disagreement with the text in the shorter ending (end at verse 8) or other Gospels suffice to dismiss it, to save the hassle? The two different answers to this question co-existed  as early as Eusebius’ ad Marinum and Jerome’s “twofold solution” (Ep. 120.3), reflecting on a lively debate over the legitimacy of the Long Ending on textual and exegetical grounds. James Kelhoffer correctly senses the connection between Eusebius’ arguments and the ones of a certain passage that concludes the Catena in Marcum (henceforth, CiM), a work customarily attributed to Victor of Antioch.[1] In the edition of the passage cited by Kelhoffer, the catenist tells us that “even if” the Long Ending is not attested in “most antegraphs,” its presence amongst the most  accurate copies, which are in accordance with the “Palestinian Gospel of Mark,” justifies adding it.[2]

In the major manuscript witnesses that we can confidently consider to be the CiM,[3] we observe that the text of this passage is unstable.[4] This is part of the fact that the catena witnesses show that it is an open-ended work that was adopted, edited and expanded in different contexts.[5] Beside the edition cited by Kelhoffer, we see another one that is considered older and more authoritative (which is in Cramer’s apparatus) and another shorter edition existed, which was less known.[6] However, looking beyond the standard witnesses of this catena, we can find that this passage survives with variants that betray different perceptions of the Long Ending’s existence. This can be clarified by comparing the editions of this tradition in two manuscripts that were not transcribed or studied in detail before. Namely, a twelfth century Gospel commentary GA 1230 and the recently discovered GA 2937. As part of the SNSF-funded MARK16 project, led by Dr. Claire Clivaz of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, the sections of Mark 16 in these two manuscripts were examined.

GA 1230[7]

Completed in 1124 CE, GA 1230 is a catena on the four Gospels. The commentary of the Markan part depends heavily, but not entirely, on the CiM. However, the Gospel text is fully quoted in its biblical lemmata, unlike the CiM which only quotes the first few words of each section. This biblical text is concluded with subscriptions that are common with f13 manuscripts.[8]

Mark 16 is divided into two blocs: Mark 15:42-16:8, which is the reading of the third day of Pascha (the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women), and the bloc of the Long Ending (16:9-20), which is the 3rd Matins Gospel of that day. In the section of Mark 16 (4 folios 146v-148r), it appears to me that the patristic comments are shorter and less elaborate, compared to their corresponding section in the CiM. It also supplements it with its own patristic material.

As in CiM, the catena concludes with the passage that deals with the legitimacy of including the LE. The passage quoted here (f. 148r) is close to the short edition, found in some of the CiM manuscripts. The passage also states that the LE is found in the most accurate tradition that “contains the truth.” However, the catenist reported an interesting situation of the LE in the editions he accessed: it is missing (Οὐκ ἔθηκαν) in many antegraphs that he was aware of, but he found it recounted (ἐπιφερόμενα) in the exemplar he was using. The contradiction was resolved by appealing to quality, rather than quantity, which favours the inclusion of the LE.

The impact of that situation is seen earlier in the commentary itself. While the CiM editions introduce the LE (ἀναστὰς δέ .. καὶ τα εξής) with the statement: “However, in some of the antegraphs, this is placed [here],”[9] GA 1230 omits this statement (f. 147v) since it claims that the LE is found in its the antegraphs. But are these the same circumstances behind the other editions of that tradition?  This takes us to the next  manuscript.

GA 2937

In a research trip to Alexandria by myself and prof. Hugh Houghton of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE), we identified a Greek catena manuscript amongst other materials we located in the Greek Orthodox patriarchal library of Alexandria.[10] This manuscript (MS 122) was later assigned the number 2937. GA 2937 is a Four-Gospel commentary with an extensive, yet not continuous, biblical text. Based on palaeographical assessment, it is dated to the 10th century, which makes it earlier than the surviving CiM manuscripts. The Gospels conclude with the subscriptions known as the Jerusalem Colophon, and therefore it should be added to the list of the “Zion-Zeugnisse” manuscripts.[11]

Figure 1 The Jerusalem Colophon of the Gospel of Matthew. Copyright granted to the author for the MARK16 project, Copyright belongs to the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa


Given the limited time and number of images we managed to take, it is not easy to establish the scale of the common materials shared between the CiM and GA 2937. However, we cannot presume any literary dependence of one on the other. The part of Mark 16 is almost entirely different, except for the passage about the LE. After quoting Gregory of Nyssa and the letter of Isidore of Pelusium to Timothy the Reader (PG 78 col. 257-260) on the problem of counting the “three days” prior to the resurrection, the catenist  concludes the Gospel of Mark with the passage on the LE. Here we find the version found in the old recension of the Catena, and used by Cramer, which is close to the one cited by Kelhoffer but with a significant difference from it. This version  states that the LE was actually found recounted in the antegraphs (ἐπιφερόμενα παρά  πλείστοις ἀντιγράφοις) the catenist accessed, yet it is not found (οὐ κείνται) in the present exemplar (παρόντι εὐαγγελίῳ) he was using! This statement reflects a situation which contrasts the one the catenist behind the version in GA1230 experienced.

Figure 2 The passage about the LE, with the subscription (f. 95r). Granted to the author for the MARK16 project, Copyright belongs to the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa



What we can conclude from this is that the question of Mark’s Long Ending had never been a closed case, even beyond the first millennium. Two historical situations of two catenists (or a catenist and a redactor) reflect contrasting images of how popular the LE was within their respective milieux: one found himself standing before the absence of the LE in the antegraphs of his circle and its presence in his exemplar, while the other had the opposite experience. Yet, they both took the liberty to use the tradition they inherited in the way that reflects their dilemma. The textual differences in paratextual materials like the passage discussed above shows us that, in a Shakespearian fashion, the problem of whether  to read or not to read the Long Ending remained the question.


[1] James Kelhoffer, "The Witness of Eusebius’ ad Marinum and Other Christian Writings to Text-Critical Debates concerning the Original Conclusion to Mark’s Gospel," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 92(1-2): 78-112. DOI: < http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/zntw.92.1-2.78>

[2] Kelhoffer, “The Witness,” 104.

[3] The major six witnesses of the catena were included in the apparatus produced by J. A. Cramer, Catena graecorum

Patrum in N.T., II, (Oxford: e Typographeo Academico, 1841). Cf. William R. S. Lamb, The Catena in Marcum (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 32-5.

[4] I recently noticed that the passage was added later to the CiM manuscript of GA800 (f. 105r). It means that the passage was not necessarily part of the catena’s original fabric.

[5] Lamb, The Catena, 52.

[6] Lamb, The Catena, 62. K. Aland, “Der Schluß des Markusevangeliums,” in L’Evangile selon Marc (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1974), ed. by Gembloux M. Sabbe, 343-5.

[7] I am grateful to Dr. Clivaz for drawing my attention to this interesting manuscript. The four Mark 16 folios of GA 1230 have been transcribed and translated on the SNSF MARK16 project and will soon be available on https://mr-mark16.sib.swiss. Transcription of the Greek folios are available on the NTVMR.

[8] A detailed description of each manuscript of this family, including colophons, can be found in Jac Perrin. Family 13 in St. John's Gospel (Leiden: Brill, 2018).

[9] Cramer, Catena Graecorum, 444.

[10] For more details see H. A. G. Houghton and M. Monier, Greek Manuscripts in Alexandria." The Journal of Theological Studies (2020): 119-133 – DOI:< https://doi.org/10.1093/jts/flaa041>

[11] Alfred Schmidtke. Neue Fragmente und Untersuchungen zu den judenchristlichen Evangelien (Leipzig: JC Hinrichs, 1911), 7. Pinakes database provides a list of the manuscripts and the different versions of this colophon. For Mark: < https://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/15554/>, for Matthew: <https://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/15553/ >, for Luke: < https://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/15555/>.

Claire Clivaz Claire Clivaz

Four folios of GA 1230 in Mark 16 : How to choose new material ?

Claire Clivaz, SNSF MARK16 PI

Just before the closure of the Lausanne University Library for COVID-19 reasons, I had the opportunity to consult a rare book arrived from the University of Neuchâtel. It was possible to consult it only in a library room. Its publication date is not particularly old (1932), but its format was surprising : it was composed by a series of floatting printed paper sheets, not numbered :

William Henri Paine Hatch, The Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament. Facsimiles and Descriptions(American Schools of Orientl Research Publications of the Jerusalem School), vol. I, Paris, Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1932. 

On one of these floatting pages, I read a notice by Hatch on Sinai 193, or GA 1230, related to Plate XXIV, with the transcription of a final comment on Mark 16 endings.


It was worthwhile to look more closely to the manuscript, thanks to the NT.VMR, what I did : no doubt, it was important to transcribe and translate Mk 16 in it ! I put it on our research list.

Mina Monier has then patiently transcribed, encoded in TEI/XML format and translated folios 146v, 147r, 147v and 148r. We can be grateful to his work, that you can read on the NT.VMR page. Images, which are freely available on the Library of Congress website, transcription and translation will be available in the manuscript room of our project (look at https://mark16.sib.swiss for the developments).

Another innovation of our project is that we fully participate at the open research data horizon, strongly encouraged in Switzerland by the State Secretariat for Education and Research (SERI), in partnership with diverse academic institutions, notably the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Consequently, our primary research data are available on a public open depository. We have chosen Nakala, an Huma-Num CNRS tool, especially focused on Humanities and Social Sciences data. You can have access there to GA 1230 transcriptions and to the translations. Each dataset has got a Handl persistent identifier (PID). Here’s an example of the html English translation of GA 1230 f. 146v : https://hdl.handle.net/11280/e9a6cf97. Metadata of this dataset according to the Dublin Core categories (OAI/PMH) :https://www.nakala.fr/page/data/11280/e9a6cf97

All published dataset can be accessed from the SNSF database : http://p3.snf.ch/project-179755

Remarks, questions, discussions are welcome on this blog or by email to claire.clivaz@sib.swiss

Mina Monier Mina Monier

New Transcriptions of Mark 16 Available on NTVMR

The team of the SNSF-funded MARK16 project is pleased to announce the new phase of cooperation with the esteemed NTVMR team on providing transcriptions of Mark 16. We have started our cooperation by providing the complete transcription of this chapter in several important manuscripts, such as: 888, 274, L1602 and more of witnesses to special cases of Mark's ending that were not transcribed before. This includes manuscripts that are Gospel commentaries in the form of catenae. Our team is not only providing the transcription of biblical lemmata, but also the commentary associated with them, such as the case of GA 304, in order to understand how the copyist and the compiler dealt with the problem of the end of the Gospel of Mark. By looking into the way the Markan ending is presented within its context in the catena, we will have more insights that can be helpful for future researchers. Therefore, the NTVMR has offered a special tab for MARK16 transcriptions that you will see at the chapter’s folios in these manuscripts. We hope that there will be more manuscripts to be transcribed according to our project plan.

Stay tuned! | Mina Monier


Our Project Our Project

SNSF Prima MARK16 project

MARK16 develops a new research model in digitised biblical sciences, based on a test case found in the New Testament: the last chapter of the Gospel according to Mark. The goal of the project is to create a virtual research environment, that will be the output website for textual criticism and exegesis of Mark 16, allowing to compare researchers’ hypotheses. SNF website: http://p3.snf.ch/project-179755

research blog presents all the news about the project, and a VRE will be open in 2020: mark16.sib.swiss



MARK16 is the first virtual research environment (VRE) focused on a biblical chapter and inaugurates a new research model for the digitised Humanities. The chosen topic is a famous enigma in New Testament studies: certain manuscript witnesses do not have an apparition of the resurrected Jesus at the end of the Gospel according to Mark. Presenting in the research matter historical order, this VRE will become the output place for textual criticism and exegesis of Mark 16, and will allow to visualise the «story of the winners and the losers», according to the French historian François Hartog’s expression. The material available in open access or with copyright, including the audio-visual material, will be presented on the VRE on a historical scale. A new interpretation tool will be created to allow the multimodal comparison of the hypotheses, including this one of the PI: the Gospel according to Mark had a previous ending, lost or destroyed, before the endings transmitted from the 4th century by manuscript witnesses. The complexity of the textual variants illustrates the ancient topos of people's emotions in front of post-mortem apparitions, and shows historically the tensions existing between Christian trends at the 1st century C.E. The project is supported by an international team of researchers: Leif Isaksen, Jennifer Knust, Valérie Nicolet, Laurent Romary, Joseph Verheyden et Peter Williams. This project coins the label Digital New Testament studies and fosters the digital turn of New Testament studies; it supports an academic reading of the Bible at a time in which the European research plays a crucial role in maintaining the social peace between religious communities.         

                                                Sara Schulthess                                                 Claire Clivaz                                                     Mina Monier                                  

                      DH Scientist                                                        Head of DH+                                         Post-doctoral fellow in Humanities                              



MARK16 is a PRIMA SNSF project hosted at the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, DH+ group


Swiss National Science Foundation